The devastating Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of people’s lives, including their health, jobs and way of life. The list of negative effects caused by the deadly coronavirus has expanded with yet another alarming finding from a recent study.
This is according to a study published Thursday in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, found that anxiety and nervousness from pandemic lockdowns caused teens’ brains to age three years earlier. These effects are similar to those seen in children who have undergone prolonged stress and trauma.
Traumatic childhood experiences can increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other long-term negative effects, in addition to making people more susceptible to mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and addiction. Based on these facts, it is obvious that the premature aging of children’s brains is a negative development.
The researchers said that “we found that youth assessed after the closure of the pandemic had more severe internalizing mental health problems, decreased cortical thickness, larger hippocampal and amygdala volumes, and more advanced brain age.”
“So, not only does the Covid-19 pandemic appear to have led to poorer mental health and accelerated brain aging in adolescents, but it also poses a major challenge to researchers analyzing data from longitudinal studies of normative development that were interrupted by the pandemic. “
According to DailyExpertNewssaid Ian Gotlib, the lead author of the new study, that the research team had expected to find issues of anxiety, depression and internalized problems.
“The pandemic has not been good for adolescent mental health,” said Gotlib, a psychology professor at Stanford University.
But they weren’t quite sure what they’d find with the MRI scans.
“It’s always interesting to do research like this when you’re not really sure what’s going to happen,” Gotlib said. “These effects were interesting and happened quite quickly.
“This was only a one-year shutdown, so we didn’t realize that the effects on the brain would be so pronounced after that short period of stress,” he added. “It follows with the mental health issues that we’re seeing.”
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